Oliver Smith

School: Lockerbie Academy, Dumfries and Galloway

Taking The Plunge

“Come on Harry you’re such a wimp!”

Harry Blair had never attempted to jump off a diving board before in his life. He was a quiet boy who could think of almost nothing worse than having to jump off a platform into a deep body of water, even if everything was supervised and it was completely safe. Despite this he could do absolutely nothing to stop the swimming lessons his year had to participate in during their 4th term at school and it was time for him to complete his first solo dive in front of all his friends. Harry had never really been into water sports such as swimming or diving because when he was around 5 years old he had slipped and fallen into the deep end of the local pool and would have drowned if it wasn’t for the lifeguard that heroically jumped into the water and pulled him back up to the surface. He was so traumatised by the experience he vowed never to go back to a swimming pool again.

As he neared the top of the ladder he could see everyone else’s face looking upon him. A few moments later he had finally reached the top and adjusted his goggles. The instructor stood beside him with his red polo shirt and speedo shorts, reassuring him everything would be fine. Harry was scared out of his mind and wanted to believe he was in a vivid nightmare and that he would wake up before he took the plunge.

Harry walked forward and peered over the edge at the pool which lay before him, his whole body trembling. This was him standing at the top of a 20M diving board for the first time in his life and he was petrified of what it would feel like when his body impacted on the water. He adjusted his goggles one more time just to make sure they were firmly attached to his face as he watched his mate John who had already completed his dive give Harry a reassuring smile from the showers. Harry pulled a nervous smile and gave John a weak “thumbs up”, his arms shaking with fear.

This was it. He leant forward and leaped into the air, arms stretched as much as he could stretch them and felt his whole world being swept up into a whizzing blur of shapes and colours, all the while keeping himself upright so that he didn’t hit the water at a bad angle and break a bone or even worse multiple bones. It felt like the dive took forever, yet at the same time Harry knew it only lasted a couple of seconds. 

Then he hit the water and was overcome by the sheer force of his body sinking under the surface and seeing the millions of bubbles he had just created. He then swiftly proceeded to kick his legs, regaining his composure before he rose to the surface. This was it – he had done it!  He heard the crowd roar and cheer as he got out of the pool, he was so proud of himself and overcome by the joy of knowing he may well have just conquered his fear of being in a swimming pool. He felt like nothing could stop him! 

When he got home he was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to tell his parents that he was no longer afraid of going swimming and that he would happily go to the pool with his friends from now on. 

A few months later and Harry could swim like a fish. He had competed in lots of diving competitions  across the country and was being highly commended by everyone who knew him for his achievements. Harry was no longer the little boy who would burst in to tears when his mum or dad suggested a family trip to the water park. 

Now it was a case of bursting into tears if he wasn’t allowed to go to the water park!


Copyright on all of the Pushkin Prizewinners' work remains the property of the authors. Please contact the Director of The Pushkin Prizes if you would like to make use of any individual pieces.
Designed and Managed by for The Pushkin Prizes